Former U.S. president Donald Trump’s businesses tried to hide millions of dollars in payments from foreign governments that flowed through his unprofitable hotel in downtown Washington, a U.S. congressional committee said on Friday.
The House of Representatives committee on oversight and reform said hotel records raise “troubling” questions about the Trump International Hotel, which is in a historic building the Trump Organization leases from the federal government.
The hotel served as a popular gathering spot for Trump’s supporters, foreign dignitaries and his fellow Republicans during his time in office as the real-estate magnate bucked presidential precedent by retaining a financial interest in his businesses while serving in the Oval Office.
According to the Democratic-controlled committee, Trump reported that during his time in office, the hotel earned him earned him more than $150 million US, but actually lost more than $70 million.
The committee found that the hotel received more than $3.7 million in payments from foreign governments — roughly equal to more than 7,400 nights at the hotel, posing a potential conflict of interest.
Provisions in the U.S. Constitution prohibit the president from obtaining payments, or “emoluments,” from foreign governments.
Requests for documents ignored until this year
The hotel gave a portion of that money to the U.S. government but failed to provide details of those payments to the General Services Administration (GSA), the agency that manages federal properties, the Democratic-controlled committee said.
A Trump Organization spokeswoman said the committee’s report was inaccurate but did not elaborate.
“This report is nothing more than continued political harassment in a desperate attempt to mislead the American public and defame Trump in pursuit of their own agenda,” Kimberly Benza said.
The GSA did not immediately respond for comment.
Congressional Democrats say the GSA stonewalled their investigation into Trump’s businesses while he was in office, but in July 2021 finally produced some of the documents they had been seeking.
The committee also found that Trump moved millions of dollars through other businesses in what it called “opaque transactions,” complicating GSA’s ability to enforce provisions that prohibited him from collecting profits from the hotel.
The committee also found that he concealed debts when he was bidding for use of the property in 2011, and that Deutsche Bank gave him a lifeline in 2018 in the form of a six-year deferral on making principal payments on a $170 million loan the hotel took out.
BREAKING: <a href=”https://twitter.com/OversightDems?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@OversightDems</a> releases new evidence that <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Trump?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Trump</a> concealed millions of dollars in losses & outstanding debts & had several dangerous conflicts of interests related to his Washington hotel.<br><br>READ: <a href=”https://t.co/vQR0mfqmpS”>https://t.co/vQR0mfqmpS</a>
The committee said Trump did not disclose “this significant benefit from a foreign bank” while he was in office.
Deutsche Bank spokesman Daniel Hunter said that was inaccurate, without giving further details.
Criminal, civil, congressional probes swirling
Trump, impeached twice as president but still maintaining robust support from Republican voters according to polls as well as his party’s members in Congress, faces a number of legal questions ahead of another potential presidential bid for 2024.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has indicted Allen Weisselberg, the longtime chief financial officer for the Trump Organization, as it examines potential tax fraud at the ex-president’s company. Separately, the New York State Attorney General has subpoenaed the Trump Organization for documents in its own probe over the company’s financial reporting.
WATCH | Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg indicted:
Also ongoing is a defamation case stemming from Trump’s comments in response to former magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll, who has accused him of rape in a mid-1990s incident. Trump could potentially be forced to give a deposition under oath in the case.
In Congress, both Democratic controlled-chambers are investigating Trump’s role in attempting to subvert the results of the 2020 election, won by Joe Biden.
On Thursday the Senate judiciary committee released an interim report chronicling what it said was Trump’s relentless prodding of the Justice Department during a turbulent stretch in December and early January to investigate suspected voter fraud and to support his efforts to undo the results.
Trump tried to undo the vote and exert his will on the department, asking leaders to declare the election “corrupt” and disparaged its top official for not doing anything to overturn the results. Trump’s actions led to a near-revolt at department headquarters that receded only after senior officials warned of a mass resignation, the report alleges.
Rage about the election compelled a mass of Trump supporters to violently storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in an effort to disrupt the congressional certification of Biden’s victory. Trump’s actions and words up to and on that day are being probed by a House-led committee, which is in the process of issuing subpoenas to some Trump aides and associates.